Gifts for the readers in your life #12DaysofChristmas #Christmas #Gifts #AmReading #BookAddict

Day 2 of the twelve days of Christmas has arrived. Today, I’m sharing the best gifts for the reader in your life. I love having readers on my gift list. They are so much fun to buy for! Here are some great gift ideas:

#1 Books – That’s an obvious one. Hold on a second, though! One thing I really, really hate is when someone buys me a book because they loved it not realizing that I don’t read that genre. So, go ahead and buy that book for the reader on your list but make sure it’s a book they want to read.

Christmas 4#2 Book gift card – This is my favorite one to receive! If you’re not sure what book your reader friends wants to read, a book gift card is the best. Here in the Netherlands, they have the boekenbon. It’s a gift card that can be used at any bookstore in the country. Awesome, right? If that doesn’t work for you because you are not lucky enough to be an expat living in Holland, you can always get a kindle gift card (or a gift card for whatever bookstore your reader frequents).

#3 EReader – OMG! This is the best present! A word of caution. There are those readers out there who are anti-ereader. I know, because I was one of those. And then I discovered that for the price of the cheapest ereader (around $50), I could read all winter for free. If you’re a book addict who is buying books every week, an ereader can be a necessity. Not all of us have money trees in our backyards!

Okay, that’s it for the obvious gifts for the reader in your life. Now, for the fun stuff.

A book clutch: How adorable are these? $78 from BAGatelle studio.

Christmas 5

Vintage Book Cover Locket: Know a reader’s favorite book? Why not grab one of these cute lockets from the Locket Library for €15?

Christmas 6

Fairytale bookmark: These are sooo cute. I may have to buy one for myself. The wicked witch is my favorite. Grab one for $25 from here.

Christmas 7

Folding booklamp: I’ve had my eye on one of these for a while. Grab this one off Amazon for $27.

christmas 8

Your new favorite recipes: This is a cool idea! Recipes from your favorite books. I know some readers who would love this book.

christmas 9

Superhero Bookend. This is not your average bookend. I want supergal to save my books! (Full disclosure: There are other superheros)

christmas 10

Book phone wallets. Now that I’ve seen these, I’m pretty sure I need a new cover for my iPhone. I’m thinking Mary Poppins.

Christmas 11

Library Card Socks. No list would be complete without a pair of cool socks. I need these!

christmas 12

Bards Dispense Profanity Game. I admit. When I’m not reading and am forced to be social, I love to play games. This Shakespeare-inspire game looks like a good time!

Christmas 13


Temporary Tatoos. OMG! Who thought of this? It’s totally awesome for those of us not wanting to put permanent ink on ourselves. Grab them here.

Christmas 14

Off to do some shopping now! Happy 2nd day of Christmas!



How Josh – the big ‘ol jerk from Fat Girl Begone! – Came Into Being #romcom #romance #writerslife

I was recently received a scathing review for Fat Girl Begone! The reviewer thought I was making fun of fat people in the book. That was not my intention – at all! Especially since I’m more than a little chubby myself. In this guest post I wrote ages ago, I explain my thoughts behind Fat Girl Begone! I’m sure the person who wrote the review won’t read this, but it makes me feel better to pretend she will. I hope you enjoy it!


How Josh – the big ‘ol jerk – Came Into Being

Josh is a Big. Fat. Jerk.

Seriously, I can’t emphasize that enough. The first time we meet the man he’s dumping our home girl, Everly, because she diets too much. That’s right. He dumps her because he’s tired of her dieting. Everly is not actually fat. Sure, at five-feet-four-inches and 160 pounds, she’s a little on the chubby side, but she’s not Fat. What she is, is a yo-yo dieter. Something I know more than I little about.

I’ve spent most of my life yo-yo dieting with the best of them. You could call me an expert – I certainly do! Most yo-yo dieters consider yo-yo dieting a way of life, but is it possible to break the habit? And what would it take for a person to end their yo-yo dieting ways? Would a break-up be enough? Hmm… sounds like a book idea.

So, I knew when I invented Josh’s character that our first glimpse of the man would be him dumping the heroine. I didn’t want Josh to leave Everly because she was fat, though. Not only is that a bit cliché (and yes, I realize making a slight tweak doesn’t completely take away the cliché), but it also didn’t seem like enough motivation to force a yo-yo dieter out of her yo-yo dieting ways. Oh, sure, I could have her lose a ton of weight and then she rides off into the sunset with some guy, but what happens after that? Does she go back to her yo-yo dieting ways? Losing weight because a guy dumps you doesn’t end the cycle of yo-yo dieting. Nope. It’s just another reason to hit a low on your scale before the yo-yo rotates and starts climbing again.

I needed more of a reason for Everly to give up her yo-yo dieting ways. But what?

That’s when I realized I had a perfectly good example to follow – my hubby. My husband is one of those annoying people who doesn’t seem to gain weight and stays in good shape. Sure, he puts effort into it, but it seems effortless – if that makes any sense. But what does this type of man – the type for which slim fit clothes were invented – think of having a wife who yo-yo diets? He isn’t bothered. Naturally, he’s proud of me when I lose weight, but when I gain some of those kilograms back, he’s not disappointed with me. If I’m upset, he’s upset on my behalf, but he doesn’t really care about how much I weigh. He loves me just as I am.

There is one thing that does bother my husband, though. He doesn’t like how I let my weight affect my life. When I was younger, I could be quite emotional about the ups and downs my scale experienced. That bothered him. He’d often tell me to just accept the higher number and let all the emotional baggage go. I didn’t take that advice – who listens to advice from a man about weight? – but I did learn to be less emotionally invested in the number on the scale.

Thinking about the hubby and how he deals with his wife’s yo-yo dieting, I came up with the idea of Josh leaving Everly because of her dieting instead of her actual weight. I thought this could be a good impetus for Everly to learn to deal with her dieting and weight instead of just losing a bunch of weight. It also opened the door for a possible return of Josh when Everly loses some weight, but that’s a different story.



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Character Guest Post from Finders, Not Keepers #CozyMystery

For today’s blog post, I’ve asked Terri of Finders, Not Keepers to explain her thoughts behind the English proverb Finders, Keepers. She had a lot to say. Without further ado, take it away Terri…


Finders, Keepers

Losers, Weepers

Or so goes the old English proverb. As every school child knows, it basically means that when an object is abandoned, whoever finds it first can claim it. The saying is based on an ancient Roman law but is longer a legal principle. Thank goodness! There is some application of “Finders, Keepers” principle involving shipwrecks that states that original owners may have lost all claim to the cargo if the shipwreck is of a certain age, though.

31 october

Someone doesn’t have a problem with Finders, Keepers!

Maybe it’s because I’m a librarian and a librarian’s main purpose in life is to loan books to readers, but I am not a fan of the whole finders, keepers idea. What would happen to a library if someone decided a book left on a table was abandoned and claim it? Chaos, I tell you.

And the second line to the proverb? Losers, Weepers? It’s just plain mean. It’s like a big fat na na na boo boo, which is the verbal equivalent to sticking out your tongue to someone. The word ‘losers’ also implies an object is lost rather than abandoned.

My main problem with the saying is that it’s immoral. Instead of urging the finder of an object to do the right thing and find the owner, it claims you can keep it without having any obligation. That’s just plain lazy. I’m a big believer in doing the right thing no matter what it costs.

There’s a reason this is an ‘old’ English proverb. It just doesn’t compute in modern society. I can maybe (maybe!) agree that years and years ago it was impossibly difficult to find the owner of a randomly found object, but that’s not true today. With social media and the automation of society, it’s easier than ever to return objects to their owners. It doesn’t even take that much effort.

So, when I found a diamond necklace in my attic, there was no way I was going to keep it. My best friend urged me to keep it and even my neighbor pointed out how I could use the money if I sold it, but that wasn’t the right thing to do. Instead, I went on the hunt to find the actual owner. Sure, my hunt took a lot of effort and even involved some scary stuff happening, but that’s unusual. Even if I had known all kinds of scary stuff was going to happen during my search for the owner of the necklace, I wouldn’t have changed a thing. When something is the right thing to do, you do it – even if it takes more effort than anticipated.

So I say – Finders,  NOT Keepers.


How I chose the setting for my #cozymystery series #AmWriting #WritersLife

Wondering how to chose the setting for your novel? Here’s how I chose the setting for my latest series, The Not So Reluctant Detectives. 


I left … No, that’s not quite right. I ran screaming away from my hometown at the age of seventeen and, except for a quick trip back to get my undergraduate degree, I haven’t looked back since. And, trust me, seventeen was a long time ago. Still, I tend to write novels that are set in my home state of Wisconsin. Why in the world would I do that? I’ve traveled extensively around the world and lived in several countries. Wouldn’t a novel be more exciting set in one of those foreign locations? Not exactly.

26 sept 1Writers are constantly advised to ‘write what you know’. While I’m not fully on board with this advice, it’s sound advice – for the most part. What everyone tends to forget, however, is that readers like to ‘read what they know’. Oh sure, there are plenty of novels set in exotic locales that make it big. Certainly, the romance genre favors Greek Islands or other some such romantic locale. But I write (mostly) mystery novels. A foreign locale such as The Hague or Istanbul doesn’t exactly lend itself to a cozy mystery as the legal structures are completely different. I don’t get into much depth with police procedurals and all that in my cozies, but I am a stickler for details. As I practiced law in the Netherlands for over a decade, I would definitely want to ensure all the nitty gritty legal stuff was correct. I’m fairly certain readers would sigh at their kindles before demanding a refund from Amazon if they were forced to read details about Holland’s criminal justice system.


My head when I try to figure out the logistics of a cozy mystery set in Holland

I also feel that a cozy mystery set in the Netherlands would feel contrived. Just how exactly would that work? Would there be two English-speaking persons running around getting lost in translation? Or perhaps the main characters would be local Dutch women? In that case, the difference in culture would probably put people off. The whole idea does my head in!

I do have two novels that are set outside of the U.S., one in Holland and one in Turkey. These novels don’t sell nearly as well (and that’s an understatement!) as my other works. I’m not saying this is due entirely to their setting, but I assume it’s a factor.

That’s why I not only choose Milwaukee as the setting for my latest series, The Not So Reluctant Detectives, but will probably continue to set the majority of my novels in the U.S.

When the hunter is your mate, being prey is anything but terrifying… #BookReview Healer’s Need #paranormalromance from @RhennaMorgan

When the hunter is your mate, being prey is anything but terrifying… Coyote shifter Tate Allen has been watching Elise Ralston from afar ever since he recognized her as his mate. But when an unknown stalker threatens not only Tate’s clan, but Elise for the gift she was born with, Tate must risk it all to protect his family and the woman he loves. Rhenna Morgan returns with this highly anticipated steamy new release in her Ancient Ink series which fans of Kerry Adrienne’s Shifter Wars will love!


Carina Press is offering ten (10) lucky winners a paperback copy of one of Rhenna Morgan’s backlist Carina Press titles (winner’s choice)! To enter, simply fill out the Rafflecopter below:

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

About Healer’s Need:


Title: Healer’s Need

Author: Rhenna Morgan

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Digital Release Date: October 22, 2018

Mass Market Paperback Release Date: October 30, 2018

Publisher: Carina Press

Series: Ancient Ink #2

Format: Digital eBook / Print

Digital ISBN: B07DCS159H

Print ISBN: 9781982542740


When the hunter is your mate, being prey is anything but terrifying…

Coyote shifter Tate Allen has been watching. Learning his mate every possible way before he moves in. Protecting her through the night, always from afar.

He’ll be the one to teach her about her gifts. He’ll be there when she changes for the first time.

With him, she’ll fulfill her destiny.

Elise Ralston loves Tate for the patience he’s shown. The faith he’s demonstrated—denying himself what he needs sexually, even as he teaches her about pleasure.

For Tate, Elise is willing to try. To revel in touch, to give him control…and to embrace her healer’s need.

But someone unknown is still stalking the clan, threatening more than Tate and Elise’s bond. And Elise is a prime target—precious for the magic she hasn’t even learned yet.

Add to your TBR list:  Goodreads

Available at:  Amazon  |  Barnes and Noble  |  Kobo  |  iTunes

My Review

Men who know who their fated mates are upon sight and go all out to claim them? Where do I sign up for that? Until I discover a parallel universe where men are all alpha protective on the outside, but sweet teddy bears on the inside, I guess I’ll have to settle for reading Morgan’s books.

I didn’t love Elise. Her background, which made her into a shy mouse, was bad but not exactly unusual enough to derail her entire life. Luckily, she gets a second chance to become the person she was always destined to be. Then, the faith the clan had in her seems justified.

Now, Tate? Tate, I did love. He’s hot, protective, and sweet as all get out. It turns out he’s a bit too protective. Fortunately, Elise had a plan to take care of that.

The story of how the clan is being hunted falls to the background here, which is a bit of a shame. Instead, this story focusses more on romance. I love me some romance so no troubles there, but the characters were a bit too introspective for me. Way too much thinking. Not enough doing.  This made the story seem a bit longer than necessary.

I recommend this novel to lovers of paranormal romance. It helps if you’ve read the first story in the series but is by no means necessary.


Copyright© 2018 Healer’s Need

Rhenna Morgan

His hackles bristled, and a low growl rolled up his throat, his beast chiming in with its own displeasure. In the two weeks since he’d met Elise, his companion had grudgingly played along with the self-imposed distance Tate had kept between them. A distance his instincts insisted was crucial to learn and prepare for the hunt ahead. Hell, the way Elise’s heart had hammered in those first few seconds, distance had been downright necessary. The only reliable action that kept him from pinning her to the floor and taking her right then and there.

But his coyote was done with waiting. Had exhausted its patience and was ready to get on with the business of winning their mate.

Almost time. Just a few more hours.

It was more thought and emotion than actual words, the connection between man and animal as natural as his heart and lungs working in synchronization.

A twig snapped.

Tate spun toward the sound, ears tweaking in the direction of soft, but steady footfalls against soil softened by April’s steady rains. Logic told him it was Jade finally showing up to do what he’d asked of her, but with Draven still on the loose and hunting clan primos, the warrior in him wasn’t willing to run on logic alone.

A second later, Jade strode into view, her long dark hair loose and swinging with each confident step, and the silver charms she’d woven into braids on one side of her head sparking in the waning sunlight. While she wasn’t his sister in the truest sense, they may as well have shared blood. He sure as hell wanted to strangle her right about now the way a blood-bound brother would.

He waited until she was within ten feet to welcome his shift, the snap and burn beneath his skin as he relinquished his animal form to the Otherworld nothing compared to the impatience twisting his insides. “You’re late.”

Apparently, he and his coyote weren’t the only ones in a nasty mood, because Jade snarled back at him as only a woman could, a little of her lynx mingling with the sound. “Elise is my friend, not an assignment. If you don’t want to work with my timetable, then get off your ass and engage with your mate the way you’re supposed to.”

“She’s new.”

“So? Katy was new, too, and Priest barely let her out of his sight.”

Oh, Elise hadn’t been far from him. Maybe not always visible, but aside from time spent at work with a tattoo iron in his hand or running down leads on Draven and their missing seer primo when Priest demanded it, Tate had stayed close to her. It’d meant a lot of time in coyote form to maintain control and sleeping hidden outside her home, but he’d kept as tight of a connection as he dared. “She’s different.”

Other Books in the Ancient Ink Series:

 cover older books in series

Title: Guardian’s Bond

Author: Rhenna Morgan

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Release Date: March 27th, 2018

Publisher: Carina Press

Series: Ancient Ink #1

Format: Digital eBook / Print

Digital ISBN: B076ZQP3MR

Print ISBN: 9781335016553


Priest Rahandras has lived with the darkness trapped inside himself for years. Betrayed by his own brother and forced to watch his clan’s brutal annihilation, the only thing Priest wants more than to escape the curse that haunts him—as both man and beast—is to rebuild.

Until the mate he’s longed for walks into his life with an elder from his past. She’s everything he’s wished for, and the key to the clan’s very survival.

Kateri Falsen is a woman of logic and facts. While Priest’s cat can sense her arousal, telling her they’re fated won’t be enough. He’ll have to show her his love: with his words, with his actions, and with his body.

Protecting Kateri from the evil trapped inside him is paramount. But when lost clan members are systematically murdered, he’ll have to choose between exposing his mate to his black magic, or risking her as the next victim.

Add to your TBR list:  Goodreads

Available at:  Amazon  |  Barnes and Noble  |  Kobo  |  iTunes

About Rhenna Morgan:

author pic

A native Oklahoman, Rhenna Morgan is a certified romance junkie. Whether it’s contemporary, paranormal, or fantasy you’re after, Rhenna’s stories pack romantic escape full of new, exciting worlds, and strong, intuitive men who fight to keep the women they want. For advance release news and exclusive content, sign up for her newsletter at You’ll also find all of her social links there, along with her smoking hot inspiration boards.

Connect with Rhenna:  Website  |  Twitter  |  Facebook  |  Goodreads  |  Amazon  |  BookBub

Lessons learned from The Italian Teacher by Tom Rachman #bookreview #MondayBlogs #AmReading

This week I’m reviewing a book we read for book club. I didn’t choose this novel. Frankly, I don’t even know how this book was chosen as I’ve just joined (and taken over) this book club. I’d love to give you some views on what others thought of the book, but the meeting was eventually canceled as I fell ill (story of my life). I’m shocked I actually managed to finish the book on time. Go me!

The Book

 the italian teacher 2

My Review

This is a difficult book to rate as I would have never picked this one up off the shelf (even though the cover art is fabulous) as the description didn’t interest me. Family sagas are not my thing. I wouldn’t have finished this novel, but it was a book club selection (and everyone knows you are legally obligated to finish those). Although the writing is good, the story didn’t pull me in. I hated, hated, hated Bear. His serial marriages added to having numerous children he essentially forgot about it made me more than a bit angry. And Pinch? He was not a character easily loved. I kept screaming for him to get it together! Strangely enough, the characters on the pages of a novel do not listen to their readers.

My Rating

I struggled with this, but finally decided on three stars.

My Thoughts as a Writer

Normally, I don’t include my thoughts as a writer in a book review, but I couldn’t resist. This book provides a valuable lesson for writers (or at least it did for me). What happens when your protagonist is unlikeable? No one is going to continue reading the story because they are rooting for the main character. Maybe if he’s deplorable, they’ll root for his demise. But what if he’s just boring and lacking in personality (as Pinch was), what then? I don’t have an answer to this question.

Cover 2.0Morgan, the main character in my novel Life Discarded, does something horrible at the start of the novel. Like, really, really bad. It’s the prologue. I then spend the rest of the novel trying to justify / explain why she was essentially a good girl turned bad. The reviews were mixed. No matter how hard I tried to justify Morgan’s actions, some readers couldn’t wrap their heads around it. I took this lesson to heart. I now try to ensure my main characters are likeable or at least don’t commit major crimes.

Do you enjoy novels with an unlikeable protagonist? Do you write novels with only likeable characters?

Let’s stop using the term ‘guilty read’ #AmReading #BookAddict

*Steps up on soap box*

Over the past years, the term guilty read has become increasingly popular. A guilty read usually refers to a book that a reader is embarrassed about reading. This can be a fluffy romance, a whodunnit, a humorous novel, etc. You can see what these books have in common, can’t you? They aren’t literature. OMG! Say it ain’t so. Say you don’t actually read books that aren’t literature! How dare you? What are you? A commoner?

There’s nothing wrong with reading a book that’s just plain entertainment. We watch television that’s only entertainment all the time, don’t we? (Or do you only watch documentaries?) And go to movies that have no intellectual qualities to them. Marvel super heroes, anyone? Why then do we have to term entertaining reading guilty reading? Look at the definition of guilty:

guilty reads 1

Based on this definition a guilty read is defined as something that’s wrong. Say, what? Why is reading entertaining books wrong? Have we become too wrapped up in what other people think of us that we have started calling books we like to read guilty?

guilty reads 2I admit that I used to be guilty (pun intended) of the above. I wasn’t so much embarrassed about what I read (I did tell friends in person what I was reading) as I was trying to project this image of me the writer as being some intellectual who only read literature or books other authors asked me to review. Yikes! Nothing could be further from the truth. I read romance and fantasy like it’s going out of style. I don’t watch television to relax (well, sometimes), I read books.

And you know what? I also write so-called guilty reads. Yep, that’s me. I write romantic comedies and whodunnits that many a reviewer has called a ‘mind cleanser’, ‘easy read’, ‘quick read’… The list goes on. I’m also not embarrassed about that – or at least I’m not anymore. (I don’t write literature and that’s okay)

So, let’s stop with this ‘guilty read’ thing. Let’s call a spade a spade. If you’re reading a romance, say so! Reading a funny whodunnit, just say it! Reading an erotic romance, say … well, maybe you want to keep that to yourself especially when you start to blush while reading in the train. Let them think you’re having a hot flash. You are – kind of.

*Steps down from soap box*

keep calm and read a book

And now it’s time for a light-hearted book review #Bookreview of Sentinel of Darkness from @katiereus #MondayBlogs #AmReading

Another week, another excuse for not finding time to read my current Pulitzer Prize winner in fiction. *hangs head in shame* But, let’s face it, sometimes you need to read something light. Something that’s not hundreds of pages long. Something that doesn’t force you to use your brain while you try to remember some obscure historical event or grab the dictionary because no one’s vocabulary is that expansive.

NetGalley to the rescue! I received Sentinel of Darkness just when I needed it most.

Sentinel of Darkness


This novella delivers everything it promises: sexy dragon shifters, suspense, romance and sexy times. There are even a few laughs. I’ve devoured every book in the Darkness Series, and Sentinel of Darkness, although a novella, was no different.

I liked Keva. She was finally finding herself after her tragic past. Dagen was hot. Who doesn’t drool after a dragon shifter who knows who is mate is and is determined to protect her with all he’s worth? Oh, and he wants to woo her with pastries! If Keva didn’t want him, I’ll have him! Several other characters in the Darkness Series made cameo appearances. Cue the laughing!

Sentinel of Darkness is the perfect read for when you need to escape every day life, but you haven’t got much time stay away.

So, if like me, you need a break from life. I highly recommend the Darkness Series.

Happy reading!

keep calm and read a book

In praise of banned books! Read one today! #BannedBooksWeek #AmReading

I’m stepping on my soap box for this blog article. If you are easily offended, please stop reading now.

Get on your soapbox... the downside includes "rude and irrational" debates.

As it is banned books week, I thought I’d talk about the importance of reading banned books. Personally, I was very lucky to have had several teachers and professors in my educational past who forced me to read books that had been banned or challenged. Native Son, Go Tell It On The Mountain, Brown Girl, Brownstones, and The Awakening are just a few examples. There were many more, but for some reason, these are the books I’ve carted around the world with me.

banned books week 2

Why should we read banned books? Banned books are provocative and challenging. Yikes! Why not just read something nice and easy? (Please note: There is NOTHING wrong with reading nice and easy.) The themes dealt with in banned books are anything but nice and easy. And that’s exactly why we should read them. Some of the themes of the books currently in the top 10 of banned books include: sexual violence, religion, same-sex marriage, gender identification, racial slurs. The list goes on and on.

Here’s the thing: Each and every theme used as an excuse to ban a book is part of everyday life. Sexual violence is a daily occurrence. In fact, a woman is raped every two minutes in America. Maybe if we start talking about this violence and how it’s wrong and not to be blamed on the victim, people would stop thinking it’s okay to sexually intimidate or sexually abuse another person.

Same-sex marriage, gender identification, LGBTQ rights… the list could go on. These ‘sensitive’ topics should be discussed, because they are part of life and not talking about them only makes people fearful. People are fearful of the unknown, after all.

I’ll get off my soapbox now, but I think I’ve made it clear why I believe we should read difficult books and discuss the uncomfortable issues they bring up. So, go ahead, grab a banned book and dive in.